Tuesday, September 25, 2018
Ephesians 1:3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.
Our word for today is one that elicits emotions ranging from disappointment to delight – it all depends on expectations. The word is CANCELLED.
The cancellation of events and activities that had expectations of benefit brings disappointment. Disappointment may even become anger when the weekend getaway is cancelled because of sickness, or the ski trip is canceled because of lack of snow, or when any anticipated escape from the stress of normal life is cancelled for any reason. We mope around and pout like little kids when the golfing or fishing day is ruined by thunderstorms, or the shopping trip is interrupted by car trouble. We hate cancellations of things that we anticipate will benefit us. We wish we would have heard the word postponed instead of cancelled, because that would at least leave us with the hope that our expectations will be realized later.
On the other hand, we love cancellations of things that hurt us or things we just can’t endure any more. When it snows, children, and maybe teachers, hope for the cancellation of school. How many AWANA and youth workers in our churches are excited when the weather forces us to cancel Wednesday night activities? What if – boy this is a stretch – as a part of a government plan to stimulate the economy, all taxes due for 2018 were cancelled?
The cancellation of things that contribute to our stress or hurt us in some way is seen as good, and we respond with delight. We don’t ever want to hear the word postponed in these situations. We want the cancellation to be final.
The Bible speaks of both cancellations and postponements. For those of us who are in Christ, the cancellations are delightful. For those who are not in Christ, the postponements are destructive. Let’s look at the postponements first.
We have been told in Scripture that the wrath of God is coming on all those who think they are getting away with sin (Colossians 3:5-6). People will be going about their normal lifestyles thinking all is well, when the judgment of their sin by God is just being postponed (Luke 17:26-30). Rich people who trust in their wealth may seem satisfied and secure today, but their destruction is only being postponed (James 5:1-3). It may seem like the wicked are succeeding, but their day is coming (Psalm 37:10-13).
Don’t worry, I won’t leave you on this downer for long. But the truth is that for those living according to the flesh, seeking to satisfy the desires of their sinful heart, their perceived success and security is false, and the ultimate consequences of their choices are only being postponed. Why? Because God is providing them additional opportunities to connect with Him and repent of their sins. Then, just as is true for us, when they come to Christ, their debt to God will be cancelled.
Christ’s cancellations are delightful. Let’s spend a few moments rejoicing in what God has cancelled because of the work of Jesus Christ on the cross.
The law that made us guilty of sin has been cancelled! When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having cancelled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. (Colossians 2:13-15)
The first covenant of sacrifice was cancelled so that we could be made holy in Christ by His sacrifice once and for all! He cancels the first covenant in order to establish the second. And what God wants is for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all time. (Hebrews 10:9-10)
Death has been cancelled so that we might have eternal life! Therefore thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone, A costly cornerstone for the foundation, firmly placed. He who believes in it will not be disturbed…Your covenant with death will be cancelled.” (Isaiah 28:16-18)
The debt of sin has been cancelled so that we can be made heirs in the family of God! Like a will that takes effect when someone dies, the new covenant was put into action at Jesus’ death. His death marked the transition from the old plan to the new one, cancelling the old obligations and accompanying sins, and summoning the heirs to receive the eternal inheritance that was promised them. He brought together God and his people in this new way. (Hebrews 9:16-17, The Message)
How delightful! Everything that kept me from a fully restored relationship with Almighty God has been cancelled. Sin is forgiven. Its debt of death has been fully paid by Another. Eternal life has been granted. Christ’s cancellations at the cross have confirmed me as a child of God forever. Hallelujah! Let’s celebrate cancellations!